Review of Federal White Collar Crimes and Best Defenses
White collar crimes are often committed by people of high status in their occupations. These offenses are nonviolent and the common theme is they normally occur a in business situation with the purpose of achieving financial gain.
White collar crimes are harshly prosecuted, especially when they are in violation of federal law.
They could be described as illegal acts that are motivated by profit and typically consist of complex and sophisticated conduct.
Many federal white collar crimes in California occur over a long period of time and involve manipulation cleverly disguised as legitimate conduct. They include a wide range of federal statutes, but some of the most common include:
- 18 U.S.C. § 1344 – bank fraud,
- 18 U.S.C. § 873 – blackmail and extortion,
- 18 U.S.C. § 201 – bribery,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2252 – child pornography,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1030 – computer hacking,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1029 – credit card fraud,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1028 – identity theft,
- 18 U.S.C. § 641 – embezzlement,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1347 – health care fraud,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1343 – wire fraud.
For addition information, our federal criminal defense lawyers are reviewing some of these federal laws below.
Bank Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1344
Bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344 can range from a non-complex case of theft of money by a bank employee to sophisticated schemes designed to defraud such as fraudulent loan applications and improper use of loaned money.
Put simply, 18 U.S.C. § 1344 makes it a federal offense to defraud a bank or participate in any type of scheme to defraud any accounts of a financial institution. This federal statute defines bank fraud:
- “knowingly executing, or attempting, a scheme to defraud a financial institution, or obtain financial institution money, funds, credit, assets, securities, or other property by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”
Penalties include up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.
Blackmail and Extortion – 18 U.S.C. § 873
The federal offense of “blackmail” is also commonly known as “extortion,” which is making threats to do something, or disclose information, that will in some way harm the victim.
Normally, the threat of potential harm is an unlawful effort to obtain something of value, such as money or property.
Put simply, blackmail and extortion is normally conduct where somebody demands money from another person for not reporting something, or to keep it a secret, such as incriminating or embarrassing information about the person.
Child Pornography – 18 U.S.C. § 2252
If anyone is found possessing, producing, selling, or distributing any material depicting a child under 18 in a sexual manner, they could be charged with a federal case of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252.
This statute covers both the receipt and the distribution of child pornography images, including:
- downloading child pornography from a website, or
- sharing child porn images with other users through a file sharing service.
18 U.S.C. § 2252 not only defines the sale, or possession with intent to sell child porn images, it also a federal crime to just possess child pornography.
Will I Go to Prison If Charged with a Federal White Collar Crime?
This is a big question on a lot of people's minds who have been arrested for a federal case by the FBI or some other federal agency. They're obviously concerned. They don't want to go into federal prison.
A lot of people realize that you serve 85% of whatever time you get, so it's not like county jail where you serve a much smaller percentage of time.
If you or a loved one is charged with a federal white-collar crime, your first move should be to set up a meeting with somebody like me, who's been doing this for nearly three decades.
A lot of the time when people are arrested for white collar crimes, it involves large dollar amounts and causes them to go to federal prison. So, the answer is, whoever's charged with a federal white-collar crime, is going to go to prison.
Avoiding federal prison
Ways to avoid prison or to lessen the amount of prison time would obviously be to come up with the money that you purportedly took and make the victim whole prior to you being actually sentenced by a federal judge. This creates a lot of things.
One, a lot of times, if you can pay the money back, the federal prosecutors are willing to give you a plea agreement that does not expose you to a significant amount of jail/prison time, puts you in a position where you can argue to the federal judge that you should get no jail/prison time.
That's the key that you have to understand about federal that's a lot different than state, and that is, the prosecutors cannot tell you exactly what your time is going.
For example, in the state, they can say, we're offering you probation and no jail time and some community service. It doesn't work that way in federal court.
The judge has the ultimate say in exactly which area you get punished. In other words, the judge decides whether you go to federal prison and the length of your prison.
Federal Criminal Lawyer for White Collar Crimes
The prosecutor, defense lawyer, and the probation department do have a say-so in that. The probation department can make recommendations.
The prosecutor can make recommendations and the defense can argue for whatever they want depending on the facts and circumstances of a case.
But, basically, you're just placed in a range as it relates to these federal white collar cases.
So, the prosecutors can certainly help you if you pay back the money if you don't have any criminal record and there's not multiple victims — these are all factors that are looked at in white collar crimes. To put yourself in the best possible position:
- you're going to first want to hire a great federal criminal lawyer;
- secondly, if you owe money, obviously you're going to want to get the money, and
- thirdly, you're going to want to listen to your lawyer.
Your lawyer is going to look at the facts and circumstances of the case and see what makes sense for you. That's the key. That's the crucial thing that you need to understand — your lawyer will drive the case.
They're going to decide with your advice as far as giving information to the lawyer, exactly what the game plan is and how you're going to put yourself in the best position to avoid federal prison time.
So, I would suggest you pick the phone up. I set up meetings all the time with people who are charged with white collar crimes. We'll get a game plan and strategy together so we can put you in the best possible position moving forward.
Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We offer a free case consultation at (213) 542-0994.